NEW YORK, 19 July (UN Headquarters) -- The Secretary-General’s fifth results-oriented annual progress report on the implementation of the Programme of Action of the Least Developed Countries for the Decade 2001-2010 shows continued strong economic performance by least developed countries, with fewer countries, mainly Pacific islands, lagging behind.
It also suggests that social indicators are also improving, but overall socio-economic progress in African least developed countries has been significantly compromised by continuing population growth driven by the highest fertility in the world.
The report, introduced at the ECOSOC meeting in Geneva today, points out that while international support for health is paying dividends in African least developed countries, malnutrition appears to be worsening, particularly in rural areas where agriculture can hardly keep up with rapid population growth, environmental degradation and challenges associated with climate change. As a result, African least developed countries increasingly face food shortages, disruption of food supplies and famine.
The report recommends greater donor focus on enhancing the productive capacity of least developed countries, particularly in agriculture. It also recommends that donors increase allocation of aid to physical infrastructure and technological development in order to raise the productivity and competitiveness of least developed countries.
It calls upon donors to make significant efforts to increase their aid volumes in order to achieve the internationally agreed goals of 0.15 - 0.20 per cent of their Gross National Income (GNI) as the Official Development Assistance (ODA) to the least developed countries by 2010 and improve aid effectiveness (ownership, harmonization, alignment, results and mutual accountability) as agreed in Rome and Paris.
The report underscores that strong commitment by least developed countries and their development partners to the objectives, goals and targets of the Programme and full adherence to the principles of country ownership, an integrated approach, result-orientation, genuine partnership and market considerations in its implementation are crucial to make further progress in the implementation of the Brussels Programme.
The overarching objective of the Programme of Action for the Least Developed Countries for the Decade 2001-2010 is to make substantial progress towards halving the proportion of people living in extreme poverty and suffering from hunger by 2015 and to promote sustainable development of least developed countries through strong, inclusive and sustained economic growth.